In 1936 200 unemployed men from Jarrow marched 300 miles against joblessness, poverty and starvation. The road they took led them not only to London but into the history books. In October 2011, the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign (YFJ) took this road once again. The modern day ‘Jarrow March’ was no historical re-enactment. 2011’s marchers did not make the long Journey to the steps of Downing St out of a mere reverence for those forced to take the same route all those years ago. This was a march against the modern day blight: mass youth unemployment.
"If the trade union movement doesn’t stand by the young people in the frontline of the Con-Dem attack on jobs and services, we will witness a re-run of the Thatcher government’s cynical dumping of a whole generation onto the scrap heap.
"This ideological government of millionaires, backed by big business, could not care less for those who get trampled in their dash to drive a bulldozer through our communities.
"The betrayal of Bombardier shows in graphic terms what’s at stake – apprentices and a state-of-the-art training centre sacrificed in order to appease global finance capital and the EU. RMT’s fight for the future of manufacturing jobs in train building, and the apprenticeships that run alongside them, rages on.
"RMT is totally behind the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow march and will support it in the towns, villages and cities as it heads down from the North East. RMT will not be found wanting when it comes to solidarity with the youth, and any other sections of our community, in the frontline of the fight back."
Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT Union
"Three-quarters of a century on, the young people recreating this famous march are sending an important message that our communities must never again be abandoned to pay for an economic crisis they did not cause.
"Instead of cutting jobs, pay and working conditions – and hacking away at our public services and our welfare state – the government should be investing to provide work and clamping down on the wealthy tax dodgers who deprive our public finances of tens of billions of pounds a year.
"As we prepare for the largest public sector strike in decades as part of our fight against these cuts, on behalf of PCS, I send solidarity to the marchers and wish them well on their journey for justice."
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union
" 'Lazy’ or ‘scrounger’ are two unfair labels used all too often of the unemployed. But as we write, around 30 unemployed youths are on a 330-mile Jarrow-to-London march. And lazy they certainly are not.
"As trade unionists we fully support these young marchers’ demands, including a massive government scheme to create socially useful jobs. They stand in the proud tradition, laid down by the 200 men who completed this same route in 1936, of fighting for the right to work.
"That’s why we will be joining the final leg of the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March on 5 November in London, starting at noon at Temple Embankment."
Mark Serwotka PCS,
Sally Hunt UCU,
Bob Crow RMT,
Matt Wrack FBU